American States Wrestling Alliance
“Saturday Night Slam”
(Malabar Gymnasium – Mansfield, OH. – February 4, 2017 – Bell: 7:00 PM)
The venue is absolutely packed. There were easily 600 people, if not more, in attendance. More seating had to be made available to accommodate fans who continued to come in after the official start of the show. (Which, by the way, begin PRECISELY at the advertised time. That is nearly unheard of in the world of independent wrestling.)
Wrestling’s Most Wanted is formed.
Sless Taylor and Ethan Wright are in the ring to cut a promo. Taylor reveals that he will team with Wright from now on because Robby Collins is a “sneak” and a “thief.”
Taylor (to fans): “You love me. You just hate that you love me.”
Fans (in response): “Yeeeew Suuuhk!”
Taylor: “You’re welcome.”
Taylor (to a fan): “You need to brush (your teeth)…all four of them.”
The duo announces that they will now be known as “Wrestling’s Most Wanted.”
Wright then introduces Random Pain, who comes out carrying a kendo stick. Pain says that he has been in the wrestling business for a long time and has been watching these two.
Pain:”Mansfield: Where the women look like men!”
The crowd isn’t happy with these three.
He continues to say that it occurred to him that it makes more sense for them to combine forces instead of fighting one another.
Initial reaction: Taylor and Wright feel cool. Pain plays the “Dutch Mantel” seasoned vet role in the scenario. I like the trio. I’m definitely intrigued to see what they do next.
Asylum defeated Alex Matthews.
Asylum marches to the ring dressed as a centurion, complete with a black cape and a shiny silver gladiator helmet.
Alex Matthews is out in a black singlet and blue denim vest.
This crowd isn’t just large, it is HOT.
Asylum overpowers Matthews during a lockup. He mocks Matthews.
Matthews almost got a pin after a springboard bulldog off the second rope.
Asylum pinned him with some sort of gut wrench driver. (My view was obscured.)
Initial reaction: I find this to be a bit of an upset. Matthews has been firing on all cylinders over the last year, especially in Mid-Ohio Wrestling. From his look and performances are on point. He is starting to heat up.
Manson Crane & The Overlord went to a “no contest” with the Bald World Order (Kid Collins & Thunder Morgan).
The Overlord (former WWF television talent, Barry Hardy) is out in a green hockey mask and football shoulder pads. His face is painted and he wears a black cowl. When he unmasks, he reveals a bleached blonde mullet with the sides shaved. This dude is baller AF. I shouldn’t, but I love this gimmick.
BWO enters to the New World Order theme song.
The chant is deafening. Seriously.
The Overlord drops an old school Hulk Hogan leg drop on Crane.
The crowd is stupid-hot for the BWO. These boys are over.
Crane cracks Collins with a pair of brass knucks while Morgan had the Overlord in a sleeper.
The Overlord chokes Collins with a chain.
Crane has some sort of “power” over Morgan, forcing him to DDT his own partner (???).
Jimmie Lee, Chris Harris, and Kenny Hendrix run in from the locker to make the save.
Crane holds up some sort of chain (necklace?) that seems to be the source of his power.
Initial reaction: I haven’t been to an ASWA show in nearly a year, so I’m not up to date on all the storylines. Crane seems to be working some sort of mystical angle. It’s corny, but works.
The crowd was scalding hot for this match. The ending was a bit confusing but I am admittedly behind on story arcs.
Sless Taylor (Photograph courtesty of ASWA)
Robby Collins (c) defeated Ethan Wright (w/ Sless Taylor) to retain the ASWA Universal Championship.
Pain comes only as far as the stage with Wright and Taylor. He hugs them and returns to the back.
Collins is announced as the “Redneck Kid.” He comes out dressed in camo chaps with orange highlights (a la Shawn Michaels.)
A fan in front of me is yelling, “Who farted?” This is cracking him up. It’s not always easy being a wrestling fan.
Collins and Wright start by brawling at ringside.
Once in the ring, Wright dominates.
Collins: Springboard Superman Punch.
Wright: Fisherman’s suplex.
Taylor interferes on behalf of Wright.
Both men are down as the ref counts.
Collins accidentally hits the referee with a Stinger Splash.
Wright powerslams Collins.
Collins returns fire with a Pele kick.
Taylor enters the ring and eats a pop-up powerbomb that was thrilling and elegant.
Collins hits a ‘braaain bustaaaaaah!” on Wright that leads to a pin.
Initial reaction: The show opens with a segment creating a hot new faction, and the first time one of them has a match they are beaten. I guess I will need to see more of the story before I judge that.
I like Collins. He is a good looking kid who is athletic. However, a lot of his move set feels like it was taken directly from the main event of Monday Night Raw. The Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and Shawn Michaels stuff is glaring instead of merely a nod. I’d like to see him make the moves “his own.” As they are now, they feel a bit too literal.
A pole is being set up containing a suspended kendo stick.
Ring announcer Cody White prudently advises children not to try any of this at home.
Random Pain defeats Takahashi in a “kendo-stick-on-a-pole” match.
Takahashi is mugged before the bell. Pain gives him an axe kick and boot to the head.
Takahashi goes for the kendo stick but is stopped.
Pain scores with a forward flip senton.
Takahashi: Snap suplex.
There are two young boys to my left (around six-years-old) who are REALLY into this.
Takahashi and Pain are on the top turnbuckle struggling for the cane. Takahashi hits a crisp DDT. He gets to the stick but is jerked from the top rope before he can use it. He rallies and whacks on the head and ribs of Pain.
Pain gets the stick. He has color on his forehead. He is lighting up his opponent with cane shots. He chokes Takahashi with the stick while locking him in a body vice.
Takahashi passes out.
Taylor and Wright are out to regain their heat. The trio celebrate.
Initial reaction: Pain went for broke when he beat on Takahashi with the stick. Holy crap. That couldn’t have felt good. The hardcore rules made for a nice change of pace on the show.
White announces that the next show will be Saturday, April 8. Click here for ticket information.
The gimmick tables are doing brisk, brisk business. These guys are rock stars to the Mansfield fans. It’s truly impressive. At forty minutes, the intermission is a bit too long. But, it is entirely understandable. The name of the game, after all, is to make money.
Better Than You (“BTU”: JJ Deville & Benjamin Bartholomew) (w/ Ed Deadly) defeated Jimmie Lee & Kenny Hendrix (c) to win the ASWA Tag Team Championship.
Hendrix is built like a warrior. He is an absolute moose. The man is impressive.
He starts by swinging a chair at his opponents.
Crowd (to Ed Deadly): “Weee-zuul!”
BB and Hendrix lock up. BB goes flying.
DeVille is in. Hendrix overpowers him, one hand to two.
Hendrix hip tosses BB halfway across the ring.
Lee lights up DeVille with chops.
Deadly tosses powder in Lee’s face. DeVille drops him while BB holds Hendrix back.
The BTU are the new tag champs.
The ex-champs get an ovation on the way to the locker room.
Initial reaction: Fun tag match. The ref should have been suspicious of the giant plume of white powder engulfing the ring before the pin, but, hey, it’s wrestling.
“Mr. Insanity” Toby Cline (c) defeated Sless Taylor (w/ Wrestling’s Most Wanted) to retain the ASWA Heavyweight Championship.
Cline enters to “Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash. The former death match wrestler has the experience and gravitas of an old gunslinger. He has seen and done it all. His entrance carries a cool vibe.
WMW jump the champ while Taylor laughs from the center of the ring.
Taylor leveled “Mr. Insanity” with a jaw-dropping springboard 450.
The referee bars WMW from ringside for the rest of the bout.
Cline starts kicking the, erm, shit out of Taylor. Taylor is punchy from the beating.
I’m concerned because Taylor appears to be bleeding from the right ear. For his sake, I’m hoping it is actually a cut behind the ear.
Cline wrapped up Taylor in a small package for the victory.
WMW hit the ring.
Insanity fights them off. He performs an awesome modified Vader Bomb off the top.
Initial reaction: This will be the match of the night. Sless is a beast. He is a helluva athlete. This was a terrific match. I yelled “holy shit” more than once.
I’ve always liked Cline but he has taken it up a notch is the later years of his career.
Abyss and Chris Harris go to a “no contest.”
Abyss is immense.
The two TNA stalwarts play to the audience.
Abyss is controlling Harris with a neck crank.
Harris fights off a chokeslam.
The BTU are out to interfere. They hand a chair to Harris, who throws it down.
Abyss chokeslams Harris but there is no ref to make the count.
DeVille waffles Abyss with his belt and puts Harris on top of his opponent. Abyss kicks out.
Harris charges Abyss, only to get caught in the “Black Hole Slam.”
A referee runs in to make the count. The BTU jump Harris. The ref calls for the bell.
Abyss gets spiked by a 2 x 4 that was hidden beneath the ring.
Abyss is angry. He wants to face the champs, with Harris as his partner, right now. Harris agrees but wants it to be for the tag team championship.
The crowd is electric for this.
Abyss & “Wildcat” Chris Harris defeated The BTU (c) (w/ Ed Deadly) to win the ASWA Tag Team Championship.
The BTU charge the ring, as the ref rings the bell to start the match.
Abyss & Harris whoop up on the champs.
The BTU have Harris down.
DeVille misses Harris with a leap from the top rope.
Harris scores a hot tag.
Abyss: double clothesline.
Abyss: “Black Hole Slam” on DeVille.
Tag to Harris.
Harris scores the pin.
New tag champs!
Initial reaction: I was surprised that the BTU/Harris & Abyss match wasn’t saved for the April show. Though, I’m happy that it wasn’t. I love when two singles stars are paired for a tag title run.
The Cline/Taylor match was terrific. Taylor can learn lessons from being in the ring with the veteran. Plus, a rougher style match toughens up Taylor’s image.
I’m still a little confused about how the WMW were booked. Debuting a heel faction and having the two young guys go UNDER feels weird. Then the vet of the trio goes OVER? Taylor and Wright are the future of the organization. While Pain is a fine performer, he is the one who can afford to eat a loss. In reality, none of them should have lost that soon after debuting a new gimmick. It was a wobbly launch for Wrestling’s Most Wanted.
I want to compliment the audience itself. I love attending shows filled with children and people who simply enjoy wrestling. This wasn’t a stuffy, smarky crowd. It was refreshing to see only one guy wearing a “Bullet Club” t-shirt instead of a hundred. And they support the boys with their energy and dollars. It is a real tribute to the time and effort that Jimmie Lee and his staff have spent building a following.
I nitpick the booking because the shows are so well run and fun that they can afford a brighter light shone on the product.
ASWA shows are inexpensive (around $10), held in a clean and comfortable venue, and absolutely loads of fun. Mansfield is a little off the beaten path but if you are within driving distance, check them out.
Learn more about ASWA here.